Consumer Watch: Playing through the arthritis pain

Fox 25 Consumer Watch lists the best workouts to curb arthritis pain. (KOKH)

When you are in pain working out may be the last thing on your mind, but people suffering from arthritis shouldn't just depend on medication to feel better.

Playing through the pain is something we hear about contact sports, but for those living with arthritis, that may be a reality every day. Sometimes, pushing through will be better for your health and bank account.

“I have a lot of pain in the morning or at night,” says Joyce Sholten who has been living with rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, for 10 years.

She takes medication, but sometimes it’s tough on her body. What's worked better is a combination of less powerful pain meds and working out.

“I find that I don't hurt as much at night in my hands and my feet,” says Sholten.

Medication for the treatment of RA can slow joint damage, but they don't work for everyone, and they are expensive. The cost can be one thousand to three thousand dollars without insurance, and even with insurance help, it can run you several hundreds of dollars a month. Working out is a much less expensive way to keep the pain at bay, just like Joyce does.

“Get up every morning and get moving no matter how you hurt. Get dressed. Put on make-up and you'll feel good,” says Sholten.

The YMCA at Mitch Park talked to Fox 25 Consumer Watch about some of the best workout plans for people with arthritis. They include walking, pool exercises, and Tai Chi style plans. Medical research shows the worst thing you could do is nothing.

“They begin to lose strength and balance. One thing leads to another, and pretty soon they are sitting more than they are moving,” says Barbara George, a YMCA instructor.

Even some weight training and yoga help.

“We can modify or adjust almost any pose to accommodate for any infirmity like that or we can just give them an alternative,” says Richard Alltzier a yoga instructor.

Slightly more intense exercises keep muscles around joints strong, and can prevent injury.

Some of the medications used to treat RA can lead to osteoporosis, and make you prone to bone breaks, but including weight training in your workout plan can also help with increasing bone density.

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